Stylus Productions

116 DVD

4 lectures on DVD



The Art & Architecture of Rome's

Christian Community

VIDEO LECTURES by Dr. William J. Neidinger


  1. The First Christians in Rome.  The early congregation in Rome was made up primarily of Jewish and pagan Greek converts; both brought their own ideas to Christianity, especially how the tenets of the faith should be displayed and portrayed.
  2. The Catacombs.  These most misunderstood of early Christianity’s monuments contain the first examples of the art of the Christians.
  3. The Good Shepherd.  Many of the symbols employed in early Christian painting and sculpture were sanitized by the Church and baptized with a new meaning.  An examination of the symbols of early Christian art.
  4. The First Churches in Rome.  The first imperial churches of Rome employed the architectural symbolism current in the empire.  An examination of the architecture of the churches and some of the earliest mosaics of the city.

For three centuries the infant Church struggled against Imperial Rome’s legal system and government bureaucracy which had branded Christianity as an “illegal religion.”  Many of the Church Fathers advocated a complete rejection of everything pagan: literature, painting, sculpture, entertainment, architecture, and music. But when Constantine I legalized the faith and the House of Constantine patronized the Church, an about-face occurred. As befitting an imperial faith, the Church now utilized many of the artistic and architectural motifs it once rejected; it “baptized” many pagan symbols and put them at the service of the faith.

In this lecture series we will pay special attention to the finds of the catacombs, the early Christian statuary of the newly re-opened Pio Christian collection in the Vatican Museums, and the mosaics of the earliest churches of Rome.

The lectures are richly illustrated with images, and course materials include detailed lecture notes and an extensive syllabus including maps and ground plans.

Related Programs

History of Christianity

Early Christian Belief and Practice

The Good Shepherd